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Mobile goes dark on Super Bowl Sunday

By Jeff Hasen

Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 3 in New Orleans was a dark day for mobile marketing and mobile advertising. That had nothing to do with the Mercedes-Benz Superdome blackout that stopped the game for 34 minutes.

There was little to no meaningful mobile call to action inclusion in the advertisements, which only tells me that the lights were off during the time when the traditional agencies should have been talking about integrated marketing efforts.

Missing in action
It was shocking given the fact that more than 100 million had a mobile phone or tablet or both within reach, not to mention a desire to go from passive to interactive prompted by a compelling message.

On other days, we vote. Or text to win. Or see a call to action and go to a mobile Web site to learn more, be entertained, and to buy.

On Sunday, all we did was wait.

And, sadly, it was not all that shocking given the fact that mobile calls to action have made as many appearances in the Super Bowl telecasts as Mark Sanchez.

This was a show we had seen before ? sexual innuendo, Coke making us feel good, Clydesdales.

I urged brands to think beyond Sunday and to work with their agencies to create advertisements that drove mobile engagement and sold more stuff days, weeks and months later.

Bottling grievance
Here are some of the missed opportunities:

Pizza Hut lost out on the chance for more dough by failing to set up a name capture as part of its free product giveaway on Tuesday.

Denny?s made the same mistake in the 2010 Super Bowl telecast when it gave away Grand Slam breakfasts, but had no way to reach out later to invite customers in for more business of the paying variety.

In contrast, consider how Arby?s introduced its Roastburger sandwich.

For the launch, Arby?s had Jimmy Kimmel create, eat and promote the product on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Viewers were urged to text the word ROASTBURGER to a short code to receive a free sandwich with the purchase of any drink.

After texting, customers were asked to respond with their zip code to be entered into a local database and receive additional offers from Arby?s. By doing this, the restaurant gained a valuable re-marketable database.

As a result of the one segment, Arby?s received 177,745 total entries from 152,280 unique participants; 65,000 people opted-in to join the mobile loyalty club; and the restaurant created 172 local databases to cater to the opted-in customers on a hyper-local level.

Elsewhere Sunday, Oreo actually added a mobile element to its $4 million spot but the call to action ? go to Instagram to decide if Oreos are great because of the cookie or the cream ? was confusing and hardly inclusive given the large number of viewers who are not Instagram users.

Pepsi sought to give away one million bottles of Next, but the URL shown flashed on the screen so fast that it likely was missed by most. In fact, the call to action said to go to the site by midnight Sunday for a chance to win, yet a visit there Monday morning had the contest still live. A text to win would have been easy to pull off.

ON TWITTER, I struck up a conversation about the reluctance to add mobile calls to action to Super Bowl spots.

Some theorized that it is the silos in agencies where traditional and digital media are separate entities. Others threw out the idea that agency creatives do not want to muck up 30 seconds of ?art.? Still others said that engagement after the Super Bowl takes a backseat to the buzz built off of a $4 million buy.

What is it going to take ? if it ever happens? We need a champion off the field ? someone from the traditional media side who sees the opportunity to run a Super Bowl spot that uses a mobile call to action to keep the conversation and selling going well after the clock winds down.

Any takers?

Jeff Hasen is chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA. Reach him at .